If This Was It, Barkley Went Out With a Bang as Penn State Beats Washington in Fiesta Bowl

GLENDALE, Ariz. – Penn State quarterback Trace McSorley eclipsed 400 yards of total offense and became the school’s all-time bowl game passing leader to lead the No. 9 Nittany Lions past No. 11 Washington (10-3), 35-28, in the 2017 PlayStation Fiesta Bowl Saturday in University of Phoenix Stadium.

(Photo by Paul Burdick. Check out more of Burdick’s work here)

Penn State improved to 7-0 all-time in the Fiesta Bowl to finish the 2017 season 11-2. It marks the first time since the 2008 and 2009 seasons that the Nittany Lions posted back-to-back 11-win seasons.

Box Score

McSorley led a Penn State offense that totaled a program bowl-record 545 yards of offense, as he completed 32-of-42 passes for 342 yards and two touchdowns while rushing 12 times for 60 yards. McSorley was particularly strong on third downs, completing 12-of-12 passing attempts for 183 yards and two touchdowns, resulting in 11 of Penn State’s 13 third-down conversions – its most since 2008. McSorley completed passes to nine different receivers, with DaeSean Hamilton catching five passes for 110 yards and two touchdowns to lead the group.

McSorley was named the game’s offensive MVP, while safety Marcus Allen was named the defensive MVP. Allen had a team-high six solo tackles and tied for the team lead with seven total tackles.

Running back Saquon Barkley also had a record-breaking performance, setting a Fiesta Bowl and Penn State bowl record with a 92-yard touchdown run, also tying Penn State’s all-time longest run record. He finished with 137 yards rushing and two touchdowns, while also catching a team-high seven receptions and totaling 38 yards receiving.

Penn State led the game from its opening possession until the end, with Washington getting no closer than a touchdown. The Nittany Lions’ 35 points scored snapped a 26-game streak of holding opponents to less than 30 points. Washington entered the game with the leading FBS rushing defense at 92.3 yards per game and had allowed just one play of more than 40 yards this season, however, Penn State rushed for 203 yards and had two plays go for more than 40 yards.

Difference Makers
Penn State

– QB Trace McSorley – McSorley became the first player in Penn State history to surpass 400 yards of total offense in a game twice in his career, throwing for 342 yards and running for 60 yards to total 402 yards – the fourth most in Penn State history and a Penn State bowl record. McSorley also broke his own record for total offense in a season with 4,061 yards. He completed 32-of-41 pass attempts, with both figures ranking second in Penn State bowl history, for two touchdowns, and he was intercepted twice. McSorley did the majority of his damage on third down, going 12-for-12 for 183 yards and both of his touchdown throws. He is now Penn State’s all-time passing leader in bowl games with 64 completions on 98 attempts, 738 yards passing and eight touchdowns.
– RB Saquon Barkley – Barkley’s record 92-yard touchdown run propelled him to 137 yards on the ground for the day, ranking him ninth all-time in Penn State bowl history. With a team-high seven receptions Barkley added 38 yards through the air to total 175 all-purpose yards. Barkley has totaled 400 career rushing yards in bowl games to rank second in Penn State history. His 17 career bowl receptions are tied for second with DaeSean Hamilton.
– WR DaeSean Hamilton – Hamilton caught five passes for 110 yards and two touchdowns, finishing his career with 17 bowl receptions to rank second all-time at Penn State, 232 bowl receiving yards to rank fourth all-time at Penn State and a record four touchdown passes. He also passed Deon Butler on the all-time Penn State career receiving chart, finishing second with 2,842 career yards. Hamilton extended his Penn State career record for receptions to 209, and posted his eighth career 100-yard receiving game.
– TE Mike Gesicki – Gesicki caught six passes for 66 yards, with six of his receptions resulting in first downs.
– WR Juwan Johnson – Johnson caught six passes for 63 yards, with five of his receptions resulting in first downs.
– Defense – Penn State limited Washington to 331 yards of total offense. Tyrell Chavis, Shareef Miller and Yetur Gross-Matos and each recorded stacks, while Kevin Givens and Parker Cothren combined on one. Marcus Allen and Brandon Smith totaled seven tackles each, while Smith secured a loose ball on Washington’s final play to secure the win.

– QB Jake Browning – Browning threw for 175 yards and a touchdown, completing 18-of-28 passes.
– RB Myles Gaskin – Gaskin was limited to 14 carries, but ran for 98 yards and two touchdowns, including a 69-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter.
– WR Aaron Fuller – Fuller led Washington with six catches for 61 yards and a touchdown.
– DB Byron Murphy, DB Austin Joyner and LB Ryan Bowman – The trio combined for three takeaways, as Murphy and Joyner earned interceptions, and Bowman recovered a fumble.

First Quarter (Penn State 14, Washington 0)
The Nittany Lions possessed the ball for nearly 10-and-a-half minutes in the first quarter, as quarterback Trace McSorley went 11-for-15 passing for 121 yards and a touchdown, and was also the leading rusher with 26 yards. Barkley added 23 yards on the ground with a touchdown and also caught two passes for 12 yards.

Penn State received the opening kickoff and was first on the scoreboard, as McSorley completed a 48-yard touchdown pass to DaeSean Hamilton on the opening drive. Washington was poised to force a three-and-out initially, but Barkley kept the drive alive with a 12-yard reception on third-and-10.

Penn State’s defense did force a three-and-out on its first action on the field to get the offense back on the field. The Nittany Lions passed midfield on a 17-yard completion to Gesicki, but McSorley was intercepted going to Gesicki on a deep pass to the back of the end zone by Byron Murphy.

Penn State forced another three-and-out on defense as Tyrell Chavis sacked Browning on third-and-11, leading to an 11-play, 64-yard Penn State touchdown drive capped by a 2-yard Barkley touchdown run. The Lions faced just one third down before reaching the red zone and converted it as DaeSean Hamilton hauled in a 9-yard reception at the Washington 40-yard line. The very next play, McSorley connected with Saeed Blacknall for 20 yards to the Washington 20, and then Barkley rushed for 8 yards to the 12. On third-and-goal from the 2, Barkley punched through the left side of the line for the touchdown.

Washington’s first first down came on a roughing the passer penalty on its ensuing possession, and it took advantage by following with a trick play, as wide receiver Andre Baccellia tossed a 52-yard pass to Will Dissly down to the Penn State 12. On the first play of the second quarter, Jake Browning called his own number for a 1-yard touchdown sneak.

Second Quarter (Penn State 28, Washington 14)
Browning’s touchdown run opened the quarter and pulled Washington within a touchdown, but the Nittany Lions responded with another touchdown drive. A 26-yard completion to Gesicki moved Penn State to midfield, and an 11-yard completion to Juwan Johnson advanced the Lions to the Washington 35. After an incompletion, McSorley found DeAndre Thompkins at the 1-yard line, setting up a 1-yard touchdown run for Miles Sanders.

Washington gained one first down after the kickoff, but a sack by Kevin Givens and Parker Cothren for a loss of 10 resulted in a four-play drive and punt. It then took just two plays for Penn State to score again, as Barkley broke free for a 92-yard touchdown run, tying Penn State’s longest run record and breaking both the Penn State bowl and the Fiesta Bowl records, both previously held by Chafie Fields (84 yds, 1997).

Penn State forced Washington’s third three-and-out and earned strong field position at its own 40 after a punt, but a fumble on a backward pitch on the first play of the new drive was recovered by Washington’s Ryan Bowman. It took the Huskies six plays to find the end zone, as Myles Gaskin found a hole for a 13-yard touchdown run.

Barkley finished the half with two touchdowns and 126 yards rushing on nine carries, while McSorley completed 18-of-24 passes for 219 yards and a touchdown.

Third Quarter (Penn State 35, Washington 21)
Washington received the kickoff to open the second half, and used tempo to rattle off 13 plays in 4 minutes, 59 seconds on an 80-yard touchdown drive. Browning threw a 28-yard touchdown pass to Aaron Fuller to pull the Huskies back within a touchdown at 28-21.

Penn State answered with an eight-play, 70-yard touchdown drive that was ignited by a 24-yard McSorley run and capped with a 24-yard touchdown toss to DaeSean Hamilton with 5:59 remaining in the quarter.

A Shareef Miller sack on third down forced another Washington three-and-out and put Penn State’s offense back on the field to finish out the quarter.

Fourth Quarter (Penn State 35, Washington 28)
Over the end of the third quarter and start of the fourth quarter, Penn State drove 53 yards on 13 plays to the Washington 18, but a McSorley pass was deflected by Ben Burr-Kirven and intercepted by Austin Joyner at the 19.

Both teams traded punts, and then Gaskin rushed 69 yards for a touchdown to bring Washington within a touchdown at 35-28 with 6:52 to go.

Penn State was able to bleed the clock down to 38 seconds with 13 plays, converting three third downs before Barkley was stopped 1 yard short on third-and-2. A false start penalty then moved the Lions back to the UW 28 on fourth down, and a Tyler Davis 45-yard field goal attempt missed wide right, giving the Huskies the ball back with 34 seconds remaining.

However, the Nittany Lions forced three incompletions, forcing a desperation lateral play on fourth down with just a few seconds remaining, and Brandon Smith recovered the loose ball to ice the win.

Scoring Drives
1st Qtr

PSU – 11:10 – TD – DaeSean Hamilton 48 yard pass from Trace McSorley, 8 plays, 83 yards, 3:50, 7-0
PSU – 1:34 – TD – Saquon Barkley 2 yard rush, 11 plays, 64 yards, 5:12, 14-0

2nd Qtr
UW – 14:57 – TD – Jake Browning 1 yard rush, 4 plays, 75 yards, 1:37, 14-7
PSU – 11:59 – TD – Miles Sanders 1 yard rush, 7 plays, 76 yards, 2:53, 21-7
PSU – 9:01 – TD – Saquon Barkley 92 yard rush, 2 plays, 93 yards, 0:44, 28-7
UW – 4:15 – TD – Myles Gaskin 13 yard rush, 6 plays, 33 yards, 2:26, 28-14

3rd Qtr
UW – 9:57 – TD – Aaron Fuller 28 yard pass from Jake Browning, 13 plays, 80 yards, 4:59, 28-21
PSU – 5:59 – TD – DaeSean Hamilton 24 yd pass from Trace McSorley, 8 plays, 70 yards, 3:58, 35-21

4th Qtr
UW – 6:52 – TD – Myles Gaskin 69 yd rush, 3 plays, 78 yards, 1:14, 35-28

Up Next
The Blue-White football game will be played Saturday, April 21, 2018, in Beaver Stadium. The intra-squad scrimmage is tentatively scheduled to kick in the early to mid-afternoon. More details about Blue-White Game and related events will be announced at a later date.

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